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Choose This, Not That Holiday Treats

Yummy, tempting treats are everywhere this time of year. What do you do if you're following a diabetic diet? Good news! We've picked the best options from the holiday treat table. Just be sure to count them as part of your regular meal plan so your blood glucose and weight loss goals aren't forgotten.

How to Stand Up to Tempting Holiday Treats

When the holidays roll around, there's never a lack of tempting treats. For a person with diabetes, it's important to be armed with better-for-you options that satisfy your holiday cravings. The following substitutions, while more healthful than the traditional treats, still contain calories, fat, and carbohydrates, which need to be accounted for in your daily eating plan.

Note: The following nutrition information was tallied based on the nutrition facts from food labels and restaurant and recipe nutrition information.

Choose Fat-Free Kettle Corn Over Caramel Corn

Choose This: Orville Redenbacher's SmartPop! 94% Fat Free Microwave Kettle Korn (1 cup = 19 cal., 4 g carb., 0 g fat, 1 g pro.)

Not That: Homemade or purchased caramel corn (1 cup = 236 cal., 36 g carb., 11 g fat, 1 g pro.)

Popcorn is typically a healthy snack choice, but caramel corn is loaded with sugar and butter -- and calories and fat. Snacking on Orville Redenbacher's SmartPop! Kettle Korn saves many calories and carbohydrates because it's sweetened with a sugar substitute.

Choose Sugar-Free Hard Candies Over Caramels

Choose This: Werther's Original Sugar Free Hard Candies (1 piece = 8 cal., 3 g carb., 0 g fat, 0 g pro.)

Not That: Homemade or purchased caramels (1-inch square = 80 cal., 12 g carb., 4 g fat, 0 g pro.)

Traditional caramels are made with sugar, sugar, and more sugar, which makes them hard to work into a healthy eating plan. Trading a piece of sugar-free hard caramel candy not only saves carbohydrates and fat, it also takes longer to eat, making it a longer-lasting treat.

Choose Cocoa Roasted Almonds Over Chocolate-Covered Almonds

Choose This: Emerald Dark Chocolate Cocoa Roast Almonds (1 ounce = 79 cal., 3 g carb., 6.6 g fat, 3 g pro.)

Not That: Almond M&M's (1 ounce = 153 cal., 16 g carb., 8 g fat, 2 g pro.)

Choosing Emerald Dark Chocolate Cocoa Roast Almonds may not provide a big difference in fat from Almond M&M's, but the fat is mainly from the almonds, which is healthier fat when eaten in the appropriate serving size.

Choose Homemade Chocolate-Covered Cherries Over Store-Bought

Choose This: Homemade dark chocolate-coated maraschino cherries (Dip 12 drained cherries in 1 ounce melted dark chocolate.) (1 cherry = 20 cal., 3 g carb., 1 g fat, 0 g pro.)

Not That: Purchased chocolate-covered cherries (1 cherry = 66 cal., 10 g carb., 3 g fat, 0 g pro.)

Most candy stores' chocolate-covered cherries have a layer of sugary fondant under the chocolate layer. If you make your own chocolate-covered cherries, you can leave off this layer and save a lot of calories and carbs.

Choose a Light Whole Grain Cinnamon Roll Over the Bakery-Made Variety

Choose This: Lighter version of your favorite homemade cinnamon roll (Substitute whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour, use half the amount of sugar and butter in the swirl filling, and use half the amount of icing.) (one 4-inch roll = 171 cal., 27 g carb., 6 g fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 g pro.)

Not That: Traditional homemade or purchased cinnamon roll (one 4-inch roll = 140 cal., 36 g carb., 8 g fat, 2 g trans fat, 3 g pro.)

A few simple changes to your favorite family recipes can make a world of difference nutritionally. When the aroma of warm cinnamon rolls fills the house, you'll feel good knowing yours has less sugar, better ingredients, and no trans fat.

Choose Sugar-Free Creme Brulee Pudding Over the Original

Choose This: Jell-O Sugar-Free Reduced-Calorie Creme Brulee Rice Pudding Snacks (1 snack cup = 70 cal., 12 g carb., 2 g fat, 2 g pro.)

Not That: Homemade Creme Brulee (1/3 cup = 209 cal., 23 g carb., 12 g fat, 4 g pro.)

Sometimes you have to look in unexpected places to find good substitutes. Creme brulee is very similar in texture to pudding, and there happens to be a sugar-free creme brulee-flavor rice pudding available in the supermarket dairy section. While it doesn't have the classic caramelized-sugar topper, this pudding has the creamy texture you want with a fraction of the calories and carbs.

Choose a Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pie Over the Original

Choose This: Homemade light chocolate pudding pie (Prepare one 4-serving-size package of sugar-free, reduced-calorie instant chocolate pudding according to package directions. Spread pudding in a purchased reduced-fat graham cracker pie shell. Chill for 1 hour or until set. Top with 1 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed.) (1/8 of the 9-inch pie = 160 cal., 24 g carb., 5 g fat, 4 g pro.)

Not That: Homemade or purchased French silk pie (1/8 of a 9-inch pie = 530 cal., 31 g carb., 41 g fat, 4 g pro.)

Making your own decadent dessert can save many calories and carbs, and it doesn't have to take all day. Rely on low-calorie and sugar-free convenience products to help you prepare a dessert everyone will love.

Choose a Dark Chocolate Square Over Truffles

Choose This: Hershey's Bliss Dark Chocolate (1 piece = 35 cal., 4 g carb., 2 g fat, 0 g pro.)

Not That: Homemade or purchased chocolate truffle (1-inch truffle = 163 cal., 18 g carb., 10 g fat, 1 g pro.)

A good piece of dark chocolate is an easy substitution for a chocolate truffle, and you don't even have to choose a sugar-free variety for huge calorie savings. You're also likely to save money by making this switch.

Another perk: You can have three dark chocolate pieces to get one carb serving (15 g of carb) instead of only one bakery truffle.

Choose Pumpkin Pie Over Pecan Pie

Choose This: Pumpkin pie (1/8 of a 9-inch pie = 187 cal., 30 g carb., 6 g fat, 4 g pro.)

Not That: Pecan pie (1/8 of a 9-inch pie = 536 cal., 58 g carb., 31 g fat, 6 g pro.)

Holiday pies are not all created equal, and choosing the right slice to top off a meal can make a big difference in your overall calorie and carbohydrate intake for the day.

Get Our Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Choose Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cups Over Peanut Butter Balls

Choose This: Russell Stover Sugar Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (1 piece = 90 cal., 9 g carb., 6 g fat, 2 g pro.)

Not That: Homemade chocolate peanut butter balls (one 1-inch ball = 138 cal., 15 g carb., 9 g fat, 2 g pro.)

The combination of peanut butter and chocolate can grab most anyone's sweet tooth, so finding a good substitute is a must. As with any sugar-free candy, sugar-free peanut butter cups are not free of calories or carbs, so indulge wisely.

Choose Thin Cookie Crisps Over Snickerdoodles

Choose This: Honey Maid Cinnamon Thin Crisps 100 Calorie Packs (1 pack = 100 cal., 16 g carb., 3 g fat, 1 g pro.)

Not That: Homemade or purchased snickerdoodles (one 3- to 4-inch cookie = 138 cal., 26 g carb., 6 g fat, 2 g pro.)

Kids and adults alike enjoy the simple, classic flavor of a snickerdoodle cookie. If you're in a pinch and don't have time to make a lighter version of your favorite snickerdoodle recipe, open a perfectly portioned 100-calorie bag of Honey Maid Cinnamon Thin Crisps. Your sweet tooth is sure to be satisfied.

Choose a Low-Fat Mint Ice Cream Sandwhich Over Mint Chocolate Dessert

Choose This: Skinny Cow Low-Fat Mint Ice Cream Sandwich (1 sandwich = 150 cal., 30 g carb., 2 g fat, 4 g pro.)

Not That: Homemade mint chocolate ice cream dessert (1/10 of an 8-inch round pan = 393 cal., 51 g carb., 19 g fat, 4 g pro.)

Mint and chocolate fit together perfectly, but many family-favorite recipes are loaded with carbohydrates and fat. Not only does The Skinny Cow make mint and chocolate ice cream sandwiches, they have a whole line of light ice cream treats. Whichever option you choose, you'll save many calories without sacrificing the delightful a sweet treat.

Choose a Coconut Macaroon Over Peanut Butter Blossoms

Choose This: Coconut macaroons (one 2-inch cookie = 73 cal., 10 g carb., 4 g fat, 1 g pro.)

Not That: Peanut butter blossoms (one 2-inch cookie = 94 cal., 11 g carb., 5 g fat, 2 g pro.)

Oodles of holiday cookies line dessert trays. Knowing the nutrition stats on each of them will help you make the best choice on where to spend your calories and carb grams.

Choose Gingerbread Cookies Over Sugar Cookies

Choose This: Plain, unfrosted gingerbread cookies (one 2-inch cookie = 61 cal., 9 g carb., 3 g fat, 1 g pro.)

Not That: Plain, unfrosted sugar cookies (one 2-inch cookie = 90 cal., 12 g carb., 4 g fat, 1 g pro.)

Choosing a holiday cookie that actually works into your diabetic eating plan makes enjoying the season that much easier.

Get our FREE Holiday Mini Cookbook now!

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